hu·​la | \ ˈhü-lə How to pronounce hula (audio) \
variants: or less commonly hula-hula \ ˌhü-​lə-​ˈhü-​lə How to pronounce hula-hula (audio) \

Definition of hula

: a sinuous Polynesian dance characterized by rhythmic movement of the hips and mimetic gestures with the hands and often accompanied by chants and rhythmic drumming

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

A sinuous Polynesian dance, the hula combines undulating movement of the hips and mimetic hand gestures. The dance is often accompanied by chants, drumming, and music played on instruments such as the ukulele. Originally a religious dance performed to praise the chiefs, contemporary hulas tell a story or describe a place, and are danced exclusively by women. The costume typically includes a raffia skirt with a lei (garland) around the neck.

Examples of hula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Honolulu television stations livestreamed dancers in jeans and windbreakers performing hula in chilly weather. USA TODAY, "Momoa at Mauna Kea, Confederate context, Guthrie garbage tribute: News from around our 50 states," 2 Aug. 2019 Honolulu television stations livestreamed dancers in jeans and windbreakers performing hula in chilly weather. Washington Post, "Jason Momoa visits protesters blocking new Hawaii telescope," 1 Aug. 2019 The swimmers described the underwater beauty such as seeing a snapping turtle the size of a hula hoop, and the canoeists talked about the above-water beauty, such as bald eagles and wolves howling. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "St. Paul team swims and paddles Boundary Waters in mine protest," 27 July 2019 Dancers performed hula and chants as Johnson arrived at the protest site on Mauna Kea. NBC News, "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson visits Hawaii protesters as envoy prepares talks," 25 July 2019 Here's the schedule for Canal Nights and Summer Under the Sails June 12: Cornhole and hula hooping. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Here's when you can take the kids for free concerts, hands-on activities on the Downtown Canal," 7 June 2019 Every morning, locals gather in Tao Dan for dance classes, tai chi, shadow boxing, and hula-hooping. Sayoni Sinha, National Geographic, "Craft brews and skyline views: The ultimate Ho Chi Minh City itinerary," 3 June 2019 But that didn’t keep her from doing the hula at her birthday party. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "101-year-old hula teacher spreads aloha spirit," 9 July 2019 From belly dancing and folk dances like the hula, cultures around the world use dance as a form of expression and entertainment. Detroit Free Press, "How dancing improves overall health," 1 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hula

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hula


Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hula

Dictionary Entries near hula






hula skirt


Statistics for hula

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hula

The first known use of hula was in 1825

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hula



English Language Learners Definition of hula

: a Hawaiian dance that has flowing hand and hip movements

More from Merriam-Webster on hula

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hula Encyclopedia article about hula

Comments on hula

What made you want to look up hula? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!